When the hard slog of the Leaving Certificate is at its end you will have a short window to reflect on that CAO application and review your decisions about what you will study for the next number of years. International research tells us that wrong course choice is one of the major factors which leads to student drop out at college.
Working in the third level sector myself, this research is borne out every year as I meet new students who are disillusioned and find that college just doesn’t meet their expectations.
So how can you guard against this happening to you?
You need to re-examine your set of CAO choices with an ‘eagle’ eye. It is so important that your genuine preference for a course governs the order of your choice of course and that you have lots of choice in your application. Don’t be tempted to change your course order on the basis of your Leaving Certificate performance or on a whim that a course or college is more popular or that friends are changing their minds. Stay focused on yourself – you are the most important person in all of this and you need to take control. It is your journey.
Giving each course listed individual attention, you need to get below the surface and ask questions:
Am I really interested in this course? Do I know enough about it and the subjects I will be studying to make a commitment for three or four years? Have I looked ahead to the second and subsequent years of the course and how the course evolves?
Catherine O'Connor, Trinity College Dublin, works as an Education Consultant and is Author of 'Cracking the College Code', a practical guide to making the most of the first year college experience.
Published by CJ Fallon Ltd., and available at all bookshops for €12.99 and online at www.crackingthecollegecode.ie (A discounted price is available to parents associations and schools with CJ Fallon).
Information talks for parent and student groups are also available nationwide: www.crackingthecollegecode.ie email firstname.lastname@example.org
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